maiden mask

His Cinderella [An Olicity AU Fic]

Anon: How about something with, like, a masquerade ball?

(AN: I got carried away again… More smut.)

He stood in his corner of the room, sapphire eyes scanning his surroundings. It wasn’t hard to get lost in the sea of black designer suits and ball gowns, and even easier to mistake who Oliver Queen was watching, but he was good with body language and had already cataloged the specific mannerisms of his friends and coworkers. He’d even figured out who a few of the politicians and celebrities were based on what he’d see during TV interviews.

Tonight was the Queens’ annual New Year’s Eve charity ball. The theme: Masquerade. Many of Starling City’s finest and elite were dressed to the nines, wearing the most outrageous masks he’d ever seen outside of Mardi Gras. But it was all for charity, so he too had donned one of those hideous masks with their colorful feathers and shiny, glittering faceplates. The one he wore had a glittery emerald facemask surrounded by long black feathers behind a row of shorter white feathers. He was dressed to kill in one of his black Armani suits, tailored specifically for this occasion.

Oliver moved aside, letting a gaggle of bright pink, blue, orange, and red feather clad women in black ball gowns pass him. They giggled as they made their way to the lady’s room several feet away, and one even stopped to give him the appreciative once over before continuing on. He returned her glance with one of his million dollar smiles and a raise of his scotch glass before looking away and completely forgetting her. He’d had more than his fill of free drinks tonight, but he still wasn’t feeling lightheaded or drunk. If the city was picking up the tab, then he’d get his money’s worth.

Tonight wasn’t the night for finding romance or getting drunk, though; tonight was for brooding. Oliver Queen hated these kinds of events, especially the Valentine’s balls when he had no one to go with. He would rather be called out to a triple homicide than mingle with all these upper class stiffs, which was why he was standing alone on the outskirts of the crowd, scanning and watching.

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Northern Igbo Agbogho Mmmuo (maiden spirit) mask bodysuit with nsibidi design on face. Cotton and wool. 20th century.

Several aspects of this particular mask help to identify it as coming from the Nsukka region of Northern Igboland. One of them is the presence of Nsibidi design, commonly found in this region. The other is the somewhat unique way in which the body suit is constructed. Usually, cloth artists apply the uli-inspired designs by appliquéing narrow pieces of cloth to the base of the body suit. In this case, the artist secured coiled rolls of cloth with narrow strips in a contrasting color, a manipulation of the material which Herbert Cole (Cole 1984) documented as coming from the Nsukka area.

Hillwood Art Museum, New York